LONDON (AP) _ Conservative Party leader William Hague won front-page headlines Wednesday with his claim of drinking 14 pints of beer per day as a hardworking teen _ but perhaps not the headlines he would have wished.

``Billy Liar,'' said the front page of The Sun newspaper. ``I'm a boozer not a loser,'' said The Independent.

Several commentators regarded Hague's revelation as a bid to change his image: He is known as a politically obsessed youth who, at 16, was applauded by Margaret Thatcher for his three-minute speech to a Conservative Party conference.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Hague said he worked as a ``driver's mate'' on a truck delivering soft drinks and beer in Yorkshire.

``We used to have a pint at every stop _ well the driver's mate did, not the driver, thankfully _ and we used to have about 10 stops in a day. You worked so hard you didn't feel you'd drunk 10 pints by four o'clock, you used to sweat so much,'' he said.

Hague added that he would finish the night with four more pints in a pub. Fourteen pints works out to slightly more than two U.S. gallons.

Some people in Hague's home town of Rotherham were skeptical.

``He worked for his father's soft drinks company and was known as 'Billy Fizz' and 'Billy the Pop.' The idea of him sinking 14 pints is laughable _ nobody has seen him round here for years,'' said Terry Glossop, assistant manager of the Angel pub.

Glossop later offered to treat Hague to 14 pints ``on the house _ as long as he drinks the lot.''

David Rusby, an old friend of the Conservative leader, said he had seen Hague drink as many as eight pints in a night, but not 14.

``He can drink a lot and quite often we would be the worse for wear and walk home a lot slower than we had arrived,'' The Mirror newspaper quoted Rusby as saying.

John Prescott, deputy leader of the governing Labor Party, doubted Hague's capacity.

``I think that is like the fisherman's tale _ how big was the fish you caught? This big? OK, then keep on drinking,'' Prescott said.